SPACE 2018 took place from 11 to 14 September at Parc-Expo Rennes exhibition centre. Attendance levels were high, the weather was superb and once more, the quality of the show was excellent. The four-day event underlined the show’s international standing. It also served to highlight the strength of the agricultural industry in Northwest France. This month, the region played host to both the “Terre de Jim” French Young Farmers show and the SPACE exhibition, one of the leading international events for livestock professionals.
This year was the 32nd time that SPACE opened its doors to the industry. This time around, there were 1,410 exhibitors from 42 different countries and a total of 108,347 delegates from 121 countries around the world. In terms of French visitor numbers, there was a slight downturn on last year (-6.65%), but all things considered, attendance was satisfactory. This small dip was mainly due to the fact that corn silage harvesting took place a fortnight earlier than expected this year and therefore clashed with the show. International attendance was up slightly (by 2.8%), showing how SPACE has unique international appeal, despite the market being particularly competitive this year.
The exhibition was particularly strong this year in terms of international reach, its focus on innovation in working conditions and excellence in health and safety. Delegates came to Rennes from all over the world: India, Japan, China, Korea, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, North Africa and West Africa. Visitors from all these regions (and more!) were seen at “Planet Livestock”. It is important to underline the diversity of nationalities at SPACE because that’s what makes it stand out amongst other agricultural shows worldwide. For the first time this year, meetings were held for poultry inter-professional associations from West Africa and France. They proved successful in turning theoretical discussions into reality and demonstrated how SPACE plays a key role in linking up livestock professionals from different parts of the world to enable future global developments.
Hosted by the Brittany Agricultural Chambers, the “Espace for the Future” zone featured an exhibition and highly-visual, practical demos on the solutions and planning required to improve working conditions for livestock farmers. One of the main aims of this zone was to make jobs in the industry more attractive, and the high number of visitors to the space shows just how important this is right now.
Once again, innovation was central to this year’s exhibition. There were 39 Innov’Space prize-winners and 5 of them were highly commended by the judging panel. Their achievements show how interested livestock farmers are in new solutions to improve working conditions, the wellbeing of animals, data management and more.
Excellence in health and safety was a topic that garnered a great deal of interest in a number of different areas such as animal presentations, talks, and livestock visits, for example. It is clear there’s a wealth of health and safety expertise across the industry.
There were also an unprecedented number of talks on the exhibition programme (almost one hundred). They covered a whole range of key topics for livestock professionals. Indeed, SPACE has become the ideal place to discuss and reflect upon the future of different industry sectors.
Our amazing livestock show was also particularly good this year. 750 animals were presented in total (200 sheep and 550 cattle across 13 different breeds). And France’s national competition for the Parthenaise cattle breed was held at SPACE for the first time this year. 70 animals featured in what proved to be a first-rate presentation. The Challenge France Prim ‘Holstein breed competition was also a raging success showed how SPACE has become a unique genetic showcase for such breeds.
Other SPACE 2018 highlights included official visits from Stéphane TRAVERT, the French Minister for Agriculture and Food, Richard FERRAND, President of the French National Assembly and Loïg CHESNAIS-GIRARD, President of the Regional Council of Brittany. We were given the opportunity to show these political leaders the high quality of the event and all the talks, stands and shows that are part of it. SPACE is proof that the agricultural industry is evolving rapidly at the moment. We could see this in the diverse range of stands this year and the attention given to their appearance. This change has been particularly noticeable this time around.
High attendance levels and the quality of this year’s show were evidence of the capability and commitment of industry professionals to continually adapt and evolve in response to the needs and expectations of society. The success of SPACE 2018 also reminds us how essential it is for all industry sectors to work together. This is crucial for maintaining and promoting the agricultural industry in the long-term and responding to demands for increasingly high levels of safety in livestock feeding.
The next SPACE exhibition will take place from Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 September 2019.